Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tent City in Sacramento

While certainly understanding and agreeing with the idea that those who are struggling to remove themselves from being homeless need the help of the community—an issue we addressed by offering one solution (tailored for Sacramento) that is working in other parts of the country in our 2005 report, (pp. 32-37); the project currently being proposed, as reported by the Sacramento Bee, seems directed towards the chronic homeless who will, by the very definition of chronic homelessness, be very resistant to even moving into the structured tent city and it will possibly wind up becoming a permanent encampment, probably located near the Parkway and existing homeless services, further degrading those areas.

A post regarding an article about the daily life among the homeless in Sacramento’s tent city in 2008, will help put what is being proposed into context, as it has an excerpt from the very revealing article from Sacramento News & Review that should be required reading by those public leaders making the decision to create a permanent tent city here.

And, finally, still about the best thing written about the homeless in America are the two chapters, Chapter 4: The Homeless, and Chapter 5: Homelessness and Liberty, in the book by Myron Magnet: The Dream and the Nightmare: The Sixties’ Legacy to the Underclass.

An excerpt from the Bee article.

“City leaders, business owners and homeless advocates have crafted a plan to create a legal "safe ground" where people without permanent housing could camp without police interference.

“A task force assembled by Mayor Kevin Johnson has drafted a report outlining a campground that would house up to 60 people and offer basic amenities such as running water and garbage pickup. The camp would be run by a governing board of homeless people, with the help of a social worker or case manager, and would have strict rules against drug and alcohol use and violence.

“According to an early version of the plan, completed last week and obtained by The Bee, the program would serve as a temporary step toward permanent housing for chronically homeless people. Residents would stay for a maximum of 18 months.”